Ben Swift grabbed the biggest win the British Academy squad has had to date when he won Sunday?s Coppa della Pace in Italy.
The 20-year-old won the 1.2-ranked senior event and has put himself in the frame for a place in the Olympic Games road race in Beijing this summer.
British Academy coach Rod Ellingworth said: ?It was definitely the biggest win we?ve had out here. It was an open, senior event, not an under-23 and that shows we?re making big strides.
?The thing that impressed me is that he did what he set out to do in the race.
?I was talking to Cav [Mark Cavendish] this morning, reviewing the Giro and said to him that he set out to win a stage and finish, and he achieved that.
?It?s the same with the younger lads, I want to see them attempt what they set out to do, even if it doesn?t work out.
?It was a great ride by Swifty. The last 100 kilometres were really hard, really hilly. He said at the start he was going to sit tight until two laps out, then go, whatever the state of the race was.
?As it was there was a break away and he rode across to it and then won from a four-up finish. Swifty has had ten top tens this year, including three second places.?
The victory puts Swift in the frame for a place in the Olympics, which may surprise some but not Ellingworth.
?He put himself forward earlier in the year. He wrote out a performance plan for the year and included the Olympics in it, saying that he?d ride for whoever the dedicated leader was,? said Ellingworth. ?He said he wants to do it as experience for London 2012, so we?ll see, but I don?t see why he couldn?t be a part of it this year.?
The next big objective is the Thuringhen Rundfahrt under-23 stage race in Germany from June 10 to 15. ?Ian Stannard did well there overall last year and we want to go there and get a result,? said Ellingworth.
Then the team will ride the Grand Prix of Wales and the National Championships as Team 100% ME, before the major target of the summer, the European Under-23 Championships in Italy at the start of July.
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